Title

Using multiple methods to demystify influences on occupation: The case of parent expectations and young adults with ASD

Presenter Information

Anne V. Kirby, University of Utah

Location

Merritt Room

Start Time

2-10-2015 9:00 AM

End Time

2-10-2015 11:00 AM

Session Type

Research Paper

Abstract

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this presentation is to use the case example of a research project involving two methodologically-different, but conceptually-related studies to explore the theoretical and practical implications of using multiple methods for occupational science research.

Methods

Study 1: The National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2; IES, nd) is a large extant dataset of information on a nationally-representative sample of youth who received high school special education services in the U.S. and contains 10 years of follow-up data as they transitioned into young adulthood. The current study utilized a sub-sample (N=1170) of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) from the NLTS2 dataset. Data from the first and final time-points (participants 13-16 and 21-25 years of age, respectively) were analyzed to determine predictors of young adult participation outcomes in the areas of employment, social participation, and daily living independence. Specifically, the hypothesis-driven structural equation model (SEM; Kline, 2011) tested parent’s future expectations as a mediator of the relationships from family background (i.e., race, household income, and mother’s education) and functional performance (i.e., academic performance, social skills, and self-care skills) latent variables to young adult participation outcomes. The data were stored and analyzed in accordance with an Institute of Education Sciences data use agreement.

Study 2: Seven mothers of adolescent males with ASD participated in semi-structured interviews aiming to understand how they develop their expectations for their sons’ futures. Participants were recruited from an email listserv of a nonprofit organization that serves adolescents and young adults with autism and gift card incentives were provided for participation. Interviews, lasting 25-75 minutes in participants’ homes, were audio-recorded and transcribed. Additional information collected from participants included fieldnotes, demographic information, and questionnaires about their future expectations and their son’s autism symptoms (Social Responsiveness Scale; Constantino & Gruber, 2005). Analysis was qualitative in nature, involved an iterative process of development (Coffey & Atkinson, 1996), and focused on theme-generation with an explanatory purpose (Schwandt, 2007).

Results

Study 1: The tested SEM demonstrated adequate model fit and revealed parent expectations as a significant mediator of the paths from family background and functional performance to young adult participation; significant indirect paths were identified from family background, functional performance, and gender to outcomes.

Study 2: Three themes were identified which describe influences on mothers’ expectations: (1) characteristics and experiences of youth; (2) maternal perceptions, beliefs, and emotions; and (3) stereotypes, stories, and society. The mothers also described the approaches they use to plan and prepare their sons for adulthood, which were reflective of their expectations.

Discussion/Implications

In combination, these two studies provide a complex picture of the role parents’ expectations play in the future occupational participation of youth with ASD. Specifically, the studies together identified influences on parent expectations, evidence that expectations mediate outcomes, and understanding of the process by which they may contribute to outcomes (i.e., though their approaches). However, both studies have methodological limitations and there are numerous practical and theoretical challenges experienced in the process of navigating interpretation and translation of findings from two distinct methodologies.

Discussion Objectives

  1. Debate the theoretical and practical benefits and challenges of integrating qualitative and quantitative methods in occupational science research
  2. Brainstorm sources of extant data that could contain data relevant to occupational science research

References

Coffey, A., & Atkinson, P. (1996). Making sense of qualitative data: Complementary research strategies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Constantino, J. N., & Gruber, C. P. (2005). The social responsiveness scale manual. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.

Institute of Education Sciences (IES) (n.d.). Welcome to NLTS2. Retrieved from www.nlts2.org.

Kline, R. B. (2011). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Schwandt, T. A. (2007). The SAGE dictionary of qualitative inquiry (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

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Oct 2nd, 9:00 AM Oct 2nd, 11:00 AM

Using multiple methods to demystify influences on occupation: The case of parent expectations and young adults with ASD

Merritt Room

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this presentation is to use the case example of a research project involving two methodologically-different, but conceptually-related studies to explore the theoretical and practical implications of using multiple methods for occupational science research.

Methods

Study 1: The National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2; IES, nd) is a large extant dataset of information on a nationally-representative sample of youth who received high school special education services in the U.S. and contains 10 years of follow-up data as they transitioned into young adulthood. The current study utilized a sub-sample (N=1170) of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) from the NLTS2 dataset. Data from the first and final time-points (participants 13-16 and 21-25 years of age, respectively) were analyzed to determine predictors of young adult participation outcomes in the areas of employment, social participation, and daily living independence. Specifically, the hypothesis-driven structural equation model (SEM; Kline, 2011) tested parent’s future expectations as a mediator of the relationships from family background (i.e., race, household income, and mother’s education) and functional performance (i.e., academic performance, social skills, and self-care skills) latent variables to young adult participation outcomes. The data were stored and analyzed in accordance with an Institute of Education Sciences data use agreement.

Study 2: Seven mothers of adolescent males with ASD participated in semi-structured interviews aiming to understand how they develop their expectations for their sons’ futures. Participants were recruited from an email listserv of a nonprofit organization that serves adolescents and young adults with autism and gift card incentives were provided for participation. Interviews, lasting 25-75 minutes in participants’ homes, were audio-recorded and transcribed. Additional information collected from participants included fieldnotes, demographic information, and questionnaires about their future expectations and their son’s autism symptoms (Social Responsiveness Scale; Constantino & Gruber, 2005). Analysis was qualitative in nature, involved an iterative process of development (Coffey & Atkinson, 1996), and focused on theme-generation with an explanatory purpose (Schwandt, 2007).

Results

Study 1: The tested SEM demonstrated adequate model fit and revealed parent expectations as a significant mediator of the paths from family background and functional performance to young adult participation; significant indirect paths were identified from family background, functional performance, and gender to outcomes.

Study 2: Three themes were identified which describe influences on mothers’ expectations: (1) characteristics and experiences of youth; (2) maternal perceptions, beliefs, and emotions; and (3) stereotypes, stories, and society. The mothers also described the approaches they use to plan and prepare their sons for adulthood, which were reflective of their expectations.

Discussion/Implications

In combination, these two studies provide a complex picture of the role parents’ expectations play in the future occupational participation of youth with ASD. Specifically, the studies together identified influences on parent expectations, evidence that expectations mediate outcomes, and understanding of the process by which they may contribute to outcomes (i.e., though their approaches). However, both studies have methodological limitations and there are numerous practical and theoretical challenges experienced in the process of navigating interpretation and translation of findings from two distinct methodologies.

Discussion Objectives

  1. Debate the theoretical and practical benefits and challenges of integrating qualitative and quantitative methods in occupational science research
  2. Brainstorm sources of extant data that could contain data relevant to occupational science research